India to launch first manned space mission by 2022: PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi as part of his 72nd Independence Day speech vowed to put Indian in space by 2022 under manned space mission on board ‘Gaganyaan’. This announcement gives Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) definitive timeline for manned space mission it has been working on for the last 15 years.
Note: If successful, India will become fourth nation in the world to send astronaut into space after US, Russia and China. Former Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Rakesh Sharma was first Indian to travel to space. He was part of the Soviet Union’s Soyuz T-11 expedition, launched on April 2, 1984, as part of the Intercosmos programme.
The proposed human spaceflight programme (HSP) has been on table since 2004. ISRO is still long way away, despite advancements in some critical technologies in past decade. It is stilling building its capabilities and developing critical technologies required to send astronaut being into space.
The mission will be completed at budget of Rs 10,000 crore and some of technology components required for it already have been developed. This includes heavy-lift launch vehicle (GLSV Mark-III), re-entry and recovery technology, crew module, Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) and astronaut training.
The required key technologies ISRO still has to develop for such mission. It includes ability to launch, recover and ensure earth-like conditions for astronauts. ISRO so far has successfully tested many of the technologies required for such a manned mission, but there are still others to be developed and tested.
Successfully tested technologies are
In December 2014, experimental flight of GSLV Mk-III was successfully tested. It also had successfully tested experimental crew module, demonstrating reentry capability. In June 2017, first developmental flight of GSLV Mk-III was successfully conducted. In July 2018, first successful flight of crew escape system was tested.